ST. CHARLES, Ill. – Weather more like July than October greeted shoppers and dealers alike for the Oct. 6-7 monthly Kane County Antique and Flea Market, 35 miles west of Chicago.
Sunglasses and wide-brim hats were the standard attire both days as temperatures topped 90 degrees, creating what one shopper described as “a juggle to handle water bottles and bargains at the same time.”
Dealer Gary Gniadek was wrapping up two sales as the show opened, stating, “The day started great for both selling and buying.” He said he had just purchased two fancy candy jars for his personal soda-fountain collection.
Several people stopped to admire his 1940s Shawnee Smiley Pig milk pitcher, priced at $50, and to pet his toy fox terrier, 14-year-old Missy, also a regular at the show. The dealer and pet traveled to Kane from Lindenhurst, Ill.
Pottery collectors oohed and ahhed over a 1920s Royal Rudolstadt 4-inch-tall vase, circa 1910, said to be “marked with a hay fork” and tagged at $379. At the same spot, a 1910 3-inch-diameter advertising pocket mirror for Ludlow Ambulance Service, complete with old vehicle color picture, could be taken home for $275. The collectibles were shown by Pat Pinnell of Paris, Ill. The dealer said she has been selling antiques for more than 40 years and laughed as she added, “I quit four times, but always missed it and came back for more.”
A 1910 advertising mirror could be taken home from the show for $275.
Hoosier cabinet collectors hovered around the booth of Becky Whalin, also of Paris, who showed off four different restored early-1900s models priced from $1,000 to $1,400. Whalin said she has been selling at Kane “for 28 years and have sold more than 2,000 Hoosiers over the years.” When asked if she had any regrets, she said, without hesitation, “Heavens no! If I could, I’d do it all again.”
“I’ve never seen this toy before,” said dealer Ty Travis, of Glenn Ellen, Ill., pointing to a 12-inch-long, 1940s pressed-steel Wyandotte ice truck, complete with faux ice chunks and ice tongs, mint in the original box. The dealer purchased the offbeat toy at Kane and said it was “going into my personal collection.”
A 12-inch-long 1940s pressed steel Wyandotte toy ice truck exchanged hands quickly at Kane.
Catching many an eye at his booth was a Schielbe, Dayton, Ohio, late-1930s, 20-inch-long, pressed-steel, friction-power bus for $750.
Soaring temperatures made it “a real task” for dealer Doug Hein, who assembled a 9-foot-long 1912 Monroe Brunswick slate-bottom pool table for sale at the show. The vintage sports piece featured mahogany construction and mother-of-pearl inlay.
“Ten-thousand dollars will take it home” said Hein, who traveled to Kane from Appleton, Wis.
The dealer said he has purchased pool tables for resale “everywhere from a private home in Midland, Texas, to a monastery in Wisconsin.”
Baseball and playing card collectors checked out the 1870s baseball card game priced at $550.
For those who wanted a smaller piece to take home, a visit to the booth of Louis Vacracos was in order, where a selection of vintage pocket watches could be inspected and purchased. Some folks stopped to admire a 1923 Bunn Special, with gold-filled case and 21 jewels. It could tell you the correct time for $400. Shoppers also admired a pair of late-1800s French tapestry-covered chairs, with original finish, priced $350 for the pair. Vacracos said he carried more than 50 watches to Kane and has more than 100 in stock priced from $100 to $500.
Two dealers who are known for unusual small antiques and collectibles teamed up to show at the fairgrounds “for 35 years and still going strong.” Both from Illinois, they are Odell Burlison of Joliet and Helen Williamson of Highland Park. Sports collectors checked over their 1870s baseball card game, complete with 4-by-6-inch box, manufactured by the E.I.H Co., priced at $550. The dealers also offered a World War I trench-art bracelet complete with officers decoration for $139, and a 10-inch white china plate with illustrations for the Missouri Pacific Railroad for $395.
Many know the popular Kane County monthly market for its slogan, “We never close.” That slogan has been a trademark for 40 years in all seasons, summer, winter, spring and fall. Soon, however, that will change.
The Robinson family, which operates the huge enterprise, announced it will be closed in January and February.
Although soft dealer and shopper activities have been noted during those months, family spokesman Fred Robinson said that was only part of the problem. Physical changes now taking place at the market were described as part of the decision.
Major construction has been taking place at the fairgrounds for many months, as a newly designed, state-of-the-art building takes shape. Robinson said, when finished, “It’ll be nearly an acre, fully climate-controlled.”
He said “new blacktopped areas will eliminate the dust problems seen for outside dealers in past years,” but will disrupt the fairgrounds for several months while the grounds are undergoing changes.
Robinson added, “We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but the improvements will make the disruption worth it.”
Regular market dates of Dec. 1-2 will run as scheduled. For more information call 603-377-2252 or visit www.kanecountyfleamarket.com.